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The story

John - ON4UN
John - ON4UN

The enormous success of "Operating Practice", written by Mark ON4WW and which has since then been translated in nearly 20 languages, is at the base of a new handbook written by John ON4UN and Mark ON4WW, which covers all the material one needs to know and to apply to become an exemplary and successful ham on the bands. Why this initiative?

During the last 50 years we witnessed a major evolution in ham radio. Nowadays, 99% of the hams active on the bands use commercial equipment built according to internationally established standards. This is one of the reasons why the technical aspects have become less of a drive to become a ham. It is undeniable that for the majority of hams who joined our ranks in the recent years, ham radio became in the first place a hobby of communication by radio, rather than a hobby about the technique of the radio communications.

Today we note a world tendency to make available licenses for beginners, based on an examination of a limited technical level. This is a good initiative because it attracts new blood, which is urgently needed. Once these newcomers have joined our ranks, they will more easily find the drive and the courage to study the technical matters necessary to pass the examination for higher class licences.

All this explains why "making contacts" has become an increasingly important facet of the hobby. Keeping the numbers of hams high and using our bands is of utmost importance, because if we don't use them, we will lose them. Too many other radio communication and broadcast services would be happy to grab important segments of our bands.

Mark - ON4WW
Mark - ON4WW

We must admit however that up to now we largely forgot to teach our newcomers and candidate hams how to operate and behave on the ham bands. In addition, the exams administered to candidate hams so far only covered this matter very superficially. This is why we hear a lot of hams using operational procedures which are far from being perfect.

We are convinced that instead of blaming them it is without any doubt better to bring them the information necessary so that they can become exemplary and accomplished radio hams. To this effect we have developed two documents, which are at the disposal of each and all, without any restriction or any cost.

The booklet "Ethics and Operating Procedures for the Radio Amateur" is available as a PDF document. A second document in the form of a PowerPoint presentation (PPS file) is in the first instance addressed to the volunteers who would like to address this subject in their section or in their local radio club. This document is available in 3 languages at this time (English, French and Dutch).

With these documents the authors have only one goal, which is to try to improve, where necessary, the behavior on the bands in matters of ethics and operating procedures, and make available to the newcomers in the hobby a document covering these subjects in detail.

This document has been accepted by the IARU AC (Administrative Council) meeting (Konstanz, June 24-25, 2008) as the recommended manual covering the subject of ethics and operational procedures:

A resolution offered by Region 1 that seeks to improve the operating standards of radio amateurs was adopted. The AC endorses and recommends the principles set out in the booklet "Ethics and Operating Procedures for the Radio Amateur" by John Devoldere, ON4UN and Mark Demeuleneere, ON4WW, and encourages each IARU Region to consider this booklet, with a view to adopting it, including any Regional variations that might be felt appropriate.

It is important to know that this is not just a "local" initiative. At this time the PDF-document is already available in more than 25 different languages and more translations are underway.

In order to make the different versions even more easily accessible in its different language versions, we created this website ( where all the versions are listed. You can download PDF files directly from this site or via the National Societies websites in the different countries.

The listing on the "Versions" page includes a few languages that are in final preparation, and where an additional translation should be available in the near future. We wil update this website regularly.

Please feel free to download any version and to give a copy to your friends, newcomers and old timers alike. Don't forget, this is NOT a document for newcomers only, and this is not a document for DXers only. It is a document as well for old timers and DXpeditioners.

Thank you for helping making the bands a more enjoyable place to be.

73, John - ON4UN - and Mark - ON4WW -

June 2010